Painted Craftsman Woodwork a Tragedy?

Painted Craftsman Woodwork a Tragedy?

The owners of this Craftsman bungalow really, really like white. They've painted over all the dark woodwork and either bleached the original floors or had nearly-white hardwood installed. The interior seems to be a bit of a stew with elements of contemporary and mid-century modern, with a little modern country and traditional thrown in. Overall, however, contemporary leanings win out. So, this is my question ....if you're a fan of such modern elements, would you opt for a Craftsman (and paint out the woodwork) or wait for something more conducive to the style, like maybe a 1960's ranch? Whatever your answer is, the interior pics of this residence is worth a look-see. 

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Anonymous on Apr 17, 2014:

To me the house lacks the warmth of a Craftsman style home.  I can understand lightening up the wood, but they went overboard.  The pickled hardwood floors do nothing for me.  Oh, if only they had at least  left that alone.  

banana on Feb 11, 2013:

I own a craftsman bungalow in Los Angeles too. I don't think there's anything wrong with painting the wood works white. It brightens the house so much. A lot of people do it here. I love the way this house looks. It actually inspired me to paint mine as well. 

Aron on May 28, 2010:

I just bought a 1930's bungalow in Lodi California (Northern CA). I also bought every bungalow design book to help me with the restoration of the house. My bungalow has painted white built ins in the dining room with glass hardware. Went out and bought the best paint stripper, gloves, and scraping tools money could buy because that was the "right" way to do it. Turns out my built ins are simply fir plywood (nothing craftsman or beautiful about it). They are now getting sanded and repainted back to their "original" color. Turns out this is the way they were meant to be "restored". Surprise. Surprise.

Andy on Dec 09, 2009:

Look at Sears home catalogs in 1926; most show painted wood work in rooms such as bedrooms and livingrooms so that house could have been painted white since its construction. My 1927 craftsman home has everyroom painted white since construction but doors are natural so I think its fitting to have white wood in this home. I believe that if the original owners were living today they would furnish it in the current style or hwat ever they desire. Why does a house have to be exactly original to when it was built? Buildings were intended to change over time. Its not a museum; its a home and people have a right to do what they want. I personally am into preservation; I wouldn't paint wood if its natural but would strip it either just for the sake of being original. I think they did a fine job and everyone should be thankful they didn't destroy the original exterior or rip out that beautiful woodwork like real remuddlers do. They preserved the pass while putting a twist into the design. 

SugarBritches on Jun 04, 2009:

Also... that's not the original kitchen, those cabinets have toe kicks. So no painting crimes were committed in that room!  The crime committed in that room was that someone, probably not the current owners, tore out the original cabinets and replaced them with some particle board nightmares in the 50's 60's or 70's.

Always remember that painting can be undone, but REMOVING original HISTORICAL elements of the house like built-ins, kitchen cabinets, etc just to "update" the house can not. 

My two cents..... cheers!

SugarBritches on Jun 04, 2009:

Hate to break it to you guys, but quite a few of these homes in So Cal were built specifically with their interior trim and wood detail painted white--not necessarily the "grand bungalows", but the smaller ones. The most common wood that was used was Douglas Fir and it was meant to be painted. Don't get me wrong, the larger homes look stunning with all the original wood showing, but the smaller ones not so much. Too small and dark.  Personally, I'm a fan of both--I live in a 1921 California Bungalow in Long Beach, all of the interior wood workis painted white. From original pictures I have of the house, it has been white since it was originally built.  And it's going to stay that way, because I don't want to make a career out of paint stripping or own large shares of stock in the company that makes Jasco!

The house in the pictures above is beautiful with its woodwork painted white, and would probably look even more beautiful with all of the wood showing. Don't blame the current owners, I'd bet 50 bucks that the wood was already painted when they bought the house.

Anonymous on May 20, 2009:

I own a craftsman similar to this one, the wood had been painted, and there are areas that were heavily gouged and one area where there were 3! 6" holes cut into the wainscott for a heater.  I wouldnt paint over perfect stained wood, but there are circumstances where painting the wood is the only solution.

deejmore on May 15, 2009:

I like the white woodwork too.. If this house is anywhere near the beach that is probably the original color. Most of the old craftsman beach houses in my part of So Calif were painted inside because all that wonderful dark wood looks gloomy when you come in from the sun..

rose on May 15, 2009:

hmm, I couldn't find any before pictures for this house so I'm not convinced that THEY painted over the wood first. Personally, I live in a 90+ YO craftsman and while I would love to have the original wood in its original state it was either destroyed, replaced with MDF or painted over long before we bought it. I can tell you now that window frame and fireplace mantle scrapings show that our house had a colorful past and by colorful I mean pink, lime green, grey, plum and yellow just to name a few... I think these homeowners did a great job with what they had and kept the basic aesthetics of the house intact. I can't begin to tell you how many homes on my street had their built-ins, beams, trim etc. removed for the sake of modernization (in the 50s, 60s and 70s). All these folks did was paint and in my opinion they did it well. 

Tanya on May 15, 2009:

If someone wants to have a craftsman home and keep everything origional and all that is awesome. But if someone wants to buy a craftsman home and make it their own that is awesome too. Get over it people.

DesigningMom on May 14, 2009:

Anonymous, it's because we care about the history, the craftsmanship and artistry that went into making this home. I mean would you paint over a Van Gogh? 

I don't believe anyone said the owners didn't have the right to do what they wanted with their home. We're just answering DIY Maven's question about the woodwork and sharing our opinions.

Oh and I happen to live my dream home with my wonderful spouse. It's a two and a half story Victorian Revival with beautiful wide wood trim. With floors of solid oak, marble and ceramic. It has three master suites all with walk in closets all surrounding a laundry room and home gym on the second level. The main master suite also has it's own sleeping porch. On the main level there are a Ladies and a Gentleman's Parlor, a Sunroom, half bath and kitchen with walk in pantry. It also has an extended two car garage,  a small covered wrap around front porch that's partially screened in, a back deck for bbqing and where grow organic veggies. The basement is a walkout with patio. The basement itself is used for our woodworking shop with a room for cutting and a room for staining and finishing. Once the attic is finished for storage we'll have a room for building furniture too. It's a bit cramped right now for that. We have a large amount of sweat equity involved with the above or we'd not have such a home. No way!  

Even if I didn't have such a home, I'm not the jealous type. I wish everyone could live in a home of their dreams, but also one filled with love. You too.      

Brittany on May 14, 2009:

Who is to say what a house is SUPPOSED to have? A house should have whatever the homeowners want it to have. After all, they are the ones that paid for it and have to look at it everyday.

I agree that the style of the house doesn't fit with their design aesthetic, but so what? They probably bought that house because it was the best buy for the price and was in a desirable location. If you find a nice house in a nice location at a nice price, are you supposed to pass up on it because somebody else won't appreciate how you wish to decorate it? Nope, you buy the best house you can and make it something you'll love to look at.

Also, maybe they couldn't find any contemporary homes in their price range. In that case, what should they have done? Not buy a house at all? Or should they have decorated this home in a style that they dislike? Either option would have been a lot more asinine than decorating a house they love in the style they love.

donna on May 14, 2009:

And do not make assumptions about what other people feel -- it's dangerous in some cases, and makes you appear to be stupid, too.

donna on May 14, 2009:

OF course they can do what they want with it -- that's not the point.


The point is what they wanted is inane compared with what they BOUGHT.


Nothing to do with jealousy (actually, technically, envy).  But if you want white-painted wood, don't buy a Craftsman with what is supposed to be natural wood in it.


We don't know the whole story, true. The wood may have gone bad or been previously painted, true. But this is a great example of what NOT to do with a classic Craftsman house. It detroys the integrity of what a Craftsman style house is designed to be.


Anonymous on May 14, 2009:

Why are we weeping and wailing over someone elses preferences? Seriously, you guys are just jealous b/c your houses probably look like crap. What if the original floors were shitty? The hardwood rotting? It is their house, they can do with it what they wish.

DesigningMom on May 14, 2009:

I'm crying here and I bet the original owners are too. Even if they are no longer with us. I will never understand how anyone can take a beautiful Craftsman home and whitewash it's beautiful wood. The wood used is not like the quality we find now. These woods were properly dried, quite often quarter sawn and the cabinetry was crafted on site of solid wood. This is one of the worst home remuddles I've ever seen. It sickens me. I bet even the home is crying! Well maybe not. It's tear ducts have been covered with white paint that wiggled it's way into the veins of the wood never to be removed again unless the top layers of wood are sanded off. Sad, sad, sad.

donna on May 14, 2009:

Sorry, the natural wood is what craftsman is all about.


They should have given it to me instead. ;^)


I hate when people don't appreciate the beauty of natural wood. If you want white why buy a beautiful wood home?

dewonangus on May 14, 2009:

I really like this home painted white.  Some craftsman homes are far too dark for me with all the wood.  I love the yellow front door and matching pots.  I haven't seen that in a long time.  I think when we are house hunting and might love a mid century modern, price and location are often the biggest priorities.  I know it was for us.    

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